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Sophomore Tutorial

Social Studies 10a. Introduction to Social Studies
James Kloppenberg
Half course (fall term). Tuesday 2-4, and a weekly section Thursday 2-4. 
This course offers an introduction to the classic texts of social theory of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Our focus will be on the rise of democratic, capitalist societies and the concomitant development of modern moral, political, and economic ideas. Authors we will examine include Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Adam Smith, Alexis de Tocqueville, John Stuart Mill, and Karl Marx.

Note: This course is limited to sophomores and Social Studies concentrators. This course is a prerequisite for sophomores applying to Social Studies. Students planning to take this class must attend the first lecture to be admitted.

Social Studies 10b. Introduction to Social Studies
James Kloppenberg and Brandon Terry
Half course (spring term). Tuesday 2-4, and a weekly section Thursday 2-4. 
This class continues the introduction to the classic texts of social theory begun in Social Studies 10a through the twentieth century. Authors include Friedrich Nietzsche, Max Weber, Emile Durkheim, Sigmund Freud, and Michel Foucault.

Note: This course is limited to Social Studies concentrators who have taken Social Studies 10a.

Methods Course

Social Studies 40. Philosophy and Methods of the Social Sciences
Instructor TBA
Half course (spring term). 
This course integrates research methods with an investigation of the philosophical foundations of the social sciences. Topics covered include causal explanation, interpretation, rational choice and irrationality, relativism, collective action, and social choice. 


Activity-Based Learning Courses - New! 
Learn more about ABL courses here.

Social Studies 68ab. Practicing Democracy
Marshall Ganz
Half course (fall term). Tuesday 7-9.
Making democracy work requires an “organized” citizenry with power to assert its interests effectively. Yet US political participation declines, growing more unequal, as new democracies struggle to make citizen participation possible. Students learn to address public problems by organizing: developing leadership, building community, and mobilizing power. Our pedagogy links sociological, political science, and social psychology theory with democratic practice.

Social Studies 68ct. The Chinese Immigrant Experience in America
Nicole Newendorp
Half course (spring term).
Uses the history of Boston’s Chinatown as a case study to examine the experiences of Chinese immigrants in the U.S. from the 1880s until the present. Employs historical, anthropological, and sociological perspectives to examine major themes related to the social and economic development of U.S. Chinatowns and Chinese immigrant communities throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. This course is an activity-based learning course, limited to students who are concurrently participating in a Harvard-affiliated service program in or around Boston’s Chinatown. Class discussions and assignments will make active links with students’ service work. Open to students in all concentrations.

Social Studies 68ec. Education and Community in America 
Ariane Liazos
Half course (fall term). Monday 1-3.
Explores efforts to realize the civic purpose of American universities, particularly in terms of attempts to engage local communities through educational outreach programs.  Examines major periods of experimentation and innovation in the 20th and 21st centuries, from the settlement house movement of the early 1900s to recent efforts to revive the public mission of universities through service-learning and other forms of civic education. This course is an activity-based learning course, limited to students who are concurrently participating in a Harvard-affiliated service program in education. Class discussions and assignments will make active links with students’ service work. Open to students in all concentrations.

Junior Tutorials — Fall 2015
Note: Admission is based on student preferences and a lottery system. Undergraduate non-concentrators may enroll in these tutorials if space is available.

Social Studies 98eo. Culture and Society
Kiku Adatto 
Half course (fall term). Tuesday 2-4. 
The tutorial will explore various approaches to the study of culture, drawing on studies in history, philosophy, art, literature, sociology, and photography.  Among the questions we will address are: In what ways does rhetoric shape politics, and what role does it play in national narratives?  How is historical memory constructed, and what are the competing forces that shape it?  What is the significance of public apologies, and does solidarity create moral responsibilities for historical injustices?  How is cultural domination exerted, and how is it resisted?  Is the censorship of art sometimes justified?  Why does the contest to control images loom so large in contemporary politics?

Social Studies 98jl. Global Social Movements
Alison Denton Jones 
Half course (fall term). Thursday 3-5.
Social movements are often considered a driving force behind political, social, and cultural change. This course explores the major theoretical and empirical approaches used in the social sciences to understand social movements. The course will examine a range of case studies including movements dealing with environmental justice, health, citizenship, and racial inclusion taken from a range of national contexts. Particular attention will be paid to transnational human rights and other activism.

Social Studies 98lf. Globalization and the Nation State
Nicolas Prevelakis 
Half course (fall term). Wednesday 4-6. 
Despite globalization, the nation is still a major actor in today's world. This course tries to understand why this is so by examining the role that nationalism plays in peoples' identities and the effects of globalization on nations and nationalism. Examples from the United States, Western Europe, Latin America, India, and the Middle East.

Social Studies 98 lh. Education and American Society
Andrew Jewett
Half course (fall term). Wednesday 2-4.
Explores how education has been and continues to be a central institution of American society, reflecting social ideals and ideologies while also directly shaping the contours and structures of society in both productive and detrimental ways. Examines different philosophical foundations of formal learning and how those theories have become manifested across time in various educational practices. Investigates how schools currently operate, specific issues the American educational system faces, and the implications of various schooling practices for structuring American society.

Social Studies 98mi. Migration in Theory and Practice

Nicole Newendorp 
Half course (fall term). Tuesday, 1–3. 
In this course, we will examine how and why people migrate from one location to another, focusing both on the theoretical paradigms scholars use to explain migration processes as well as on the individual experiences of migrants. Topics include transnationalism, diaspora, identity formation, integration and assimilation, citizenship claims, and the feminization of migration. Ethnographic readings focus primarily on migration to the US, but also include cases from other world areas, most notably Asia.

Social Studies 98na. The American Ghetto
Matthew Desmond 
Half course (fall term). Monday 3-5.
The ghetto is among the most complex and troubling of all American institutions. This course analyzes the American ghetto in historical and contemporary perspective, exploring topics such as racial segregation, urban poverty, inner-city schools, the underground economy, and the prison boom. Along with engaging with several classic and contemporary texts, we will carry out ethnographic fieldwork in some of Boston's low-income neighborhoods.

Social Studies 98nb. Inequality and Social Mobility in America
Anya Bassett 
Half course (fall term). Thursday 4-6.
The United States is currently experiencing high levels of income and wealth inequality and stagnant social mobility. This course will ask why this is and what, if anything, should be done about it. We will consider both social and individual explanations for inequality and social mobility, and we will examine efforts to decrease inequality and increase social mobility through educational and legal means.

Social Studies 98ok. The Politics of the Environment in Asia
Kevin Caffrey
Half course (fall term). Wednesday 1-3.
Scholars have noted the connection between environment and specific forms of Asian politics and society. Today China reengineers the flow of its rivers to address social demands for water. South & Southeast Asian polities realize how politics beyond their borders can determine the flow of the region's rivers--and thus the health of their societies. The dangers of poor air quality, polluted land, and contaminated food energize social movements and unrest. Asian development models have resulted in extreme pollution, and with resulting public health problems, governmental attention to the environment has increased. In this research seminar students will explore "politics and environment" in Asia, with some attention being given to the future.

Social Studies 98oq. Political Rhetoric and American Democracy
Adam Sandel
Half course (fall term). Wednesday 2-4.
In this course, we will investigate a question at the heart of democratic politics: in what sense, if any, is rhetoric a part of reasoned political argument? Is rhetoric a regrettable feature of democracy, or a practice worth cultivating? We often denigrate rhetoric as pandering or manipulation. We often assume that stories, images, and metaphors intended to persuade a particular audience are, at best, adornments to the "real argument." At worst, they are means of trickery, ways of moving people to a decision that their better reason would reject. But examples of great rhetoric force us to question this assumption. The speeches of political figures such as John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Martin Luther King arguably derive their moral force not simply from the principles they invoke, but from the way in which they appeal to the life circumstances of their listeners. We will examine the case for and against rhetoric by turning to classical texts (Aristotle, Plato, Hobbes, Kant), contemporary political theory (Garsten, Beiner, Chambers), and great political speeches (Douglass, Lincoln, Johnson, and others).

Social Studies 98or. Decolonizing Development in Africa
Kerry Chance
Half course (fall term). Monday 1:30-3:30.
This course asks how development has shaped decolonization on the African continent. We interrogate antinomies of African “tradition” and “modernity” that inform development processes and interventions, notably through legacies of liberal state-making, divisions of labor and economic value, and the management of impoverished populations. Rather than approaching these worlds as without history or innovation, the course tracks their complex interactions with new technologies and infrastructures of belonging, work, and identity. Through social theory and ethnography, we attend to the impact of post-colonial development in the making of the current world order.  

Social Studies 98os. Honest Lies and Deceptive Truths: Modernity and the Politics of Transparency
Rebecca Ploof
Half course (fall term). Wednesday 2-4.
The idea that transparency, or truth in politics, is both an unequivocally good objective, and an attainable one, is now commonplace. The modern period of political thought, by contrast, presents startlingly different evaluations of, and approaches to, transparency.  Drawing on the work of Machiavelli, Hobbes, and Rousseau, this course explores the politics of verity and falsity as each relates to questions of 1) epistemology 2) methodology and 3) rhetoric.  In so doing, the course offers a historical lens through which to reconsider, and potentially critique, contemporary notions of political transparency.  

Social Studies 98ot. Poverty and Development in Latin America
Kristin Skrabut
Half course (fall term). Tuesday 4-6.
This course explores how development theories and practices have shaped history, politics, and the dynamics of everyday life in Latin America. We consider Latin America’s colonial legacy, the effects of modernization and dependency theories, and ideals of democratic development. Coupling in-depth ethnographies with readings from development theorists, topics we cover include: systemic inequality, citizenship, indigenous rights, environmentalism, healthcare, microcredit, state violence and insecurity. 

Junior Tutorials 
— Spring 2016
Note: Admission is based on student preferences and a lottery system. Undergraduate non-concentrators may enroll in these tutorials if space is available. 

Social Studies 98ab. Science and Democracy in Modern America  
Andrew Jewett 
Half course (spring term). Hours to be arranged.
Science, in its many guises, is a crucial force in the modern world. How has its growing authority reshaped American democracy since the late nineteenth century? Our readings will address that question in theoretical and practical terms by exploring science's changing roles in academia, political ideology, social thought, popular culture, public education, state administration, and law, as well as its complex ties to religion, secularism, and technological innovation.
Social Studies 98cl. Law and American Society
Terry Aladjem 
Half course (spring term). Hours to be arranged.
Examines law as a defining force in American culture and society in four dimensions—as it establishes individual rights, liberties, and limits of toleration; as it attempts to resolve differences among competing constituencies; as it sets out terms of punishment and social control, and as a source of informing images and ideological consistency.
Note: A prison trip is planned, subject to approval. 

Social Studies 98nc. The Economics of Education
Amanda Pallais 
Half course (spring term). Hours to be arranged.
This course examines economic aspects of education issues, using quantitative research. We will examine several of the major proposed strategies for improving schools including increasing school resources, enhancing school accountability, and improving teacher selection and training. We will also discuss higher education and education in developing economies. The class culminates with students writing a serious research paper.

Social Studies 98oc. Religion and Secularism in a Global World
Anya Bernstein 
Half course (spring term). Hours to be arranged.
What constitutes the political and how does it relate to the religious? This course explores the relationship between recent religious resurgences and secular politics while paying particular attention to the mutually constitutive categories of the "secular" and the "religious." We start by exploring the classic secularization thesis and continue to examine its recent revisions. We will move beyond the assumption that secularism should be conceived in the singular to reflect on its global varieties, considering not only the Euro-American formations, but also debates around the place of religion in public life in China, India, Russia, Turkey and others.

Social Studies 98pa. Riots and Uprisings
Kerry Chance
Half course (spring term). Hours to be arranged.
This course examines the role of riots and uprisings in social, economic, and political change. Twenty-first century governance has been characterized by a fracturing of state sovereignty and economic crisis in many parts of the globe, which have given rise to new forms of collective action, configurations of labor, and understandings of the material world.  We ask how activist networks, crowds, and insurgencies are reshaping long-standing distinctions between law and illegality, privacy and publicity, formal and informal markets, state and non-state spaces, especially under conditions of stark inequality.  Through contemporary theory, ethnography, and digital media methods, we focus on unrest over health, safety, and the environment.

Social Studies 98pb. Global Slums
Kristin Skrabut
Half course (spring term). Hours to be arranged.
This course investigates “the slum” as a social product, an icon of disorder, and a setting for diverse cultures and modes of sociality. By comparing ethnographic case studies of slums from around the world, we explore how slums emerge at the intersection of global inequalities, state planning, and the insurgent practices of the poor. Topics we cover include: rural-urban migration, spatial segregation, housing and infrastructure, informal markets, sustainability, and urban social movements.

Social Studies 98pc. Comparing India and China
Nara Dillon
Half course (spring term). Hours to be arranged.
In the late 1940s, India witnessed a peaceful transition to democracy, while China experienced a Communist revolution. After this divergence, both countries began pursuing market reforms in the effort to accelerate economic growth in the 1980s and 1990s. We will explore the ways in which power has been consolidated and distributed under these very different regimes and the implications this has had for a range of socio-political and economic outcomes, including famine, economic development, and urbanization. Throughout the course we will place India and China in the context of comparative debates about other parts of the developing world.

Social Studies 98pd. Capitalism and Its Critics in Twentieth-Century America
Ryan Acton
Half course (spring term). Hours to be arranged.
We will study how twentieth-century American intellectuals justified and criticized capitalism and its effects on the nation. We will read philosophers, social and cultural theorists, economists, and historians. When are market-made inequalities of wealth and power just? How does capitalism shape morality and desire? What is the relationship between capitalism and other forms of power (e.g. gender, democracy)?

Social Studies 98pf. Rethinking Transnational Feminism
Angela Mione
Half course (spring term). Hours to be arranged.
Can we speak of a global or transnational feminism? Attending to questions prompted by both globalization and cosmopolitanism, this course explores themes, issues, and problems raised by global feminist aspirations in political thought. We will develop a genealogy of feminist attempts to think in a cosmopolitan, international, and transnational vein from the 18th through 20th centuries. While resisting the lure of relativism, we will appraise 21st century articulations of global feminism by taking centrally human plurality, solidarity, and contingent democratic practices rooted in particular local contexts within a global frame. 

Social Studies 98pk. The Public and Its Problems: Democratic Theory in Practice
Ian Storey
Half course (spring term). Hours to be arranged.
This course provides an in-depth introduction to contemporary democratic theory through both the lenses of its proponents (in their many forms) and its most trenchant critics. The course will be organized historically, tracing forms and schools of democratic and anti-democratic theory through the 20th Century, with a constant eye towards historical precedents by focusing each week around particularly intransigent problems for democratic governance (e.g. labor disputes, penal organization). Ultimately, the course aims to provide the student with both a detailed sense of the map of the contemporary terrain of democratic theory, and also a sense of why certain schools of proponents and critics coalesced around the public problems that they did.

Social Studies 98pl. Empire and Colonialism in the Modern World
Daragh Grant
Half course (spring term). Hours to be arranged.
This course investigates the question of how empire and colonialism shaped the modern world. Drawing on global histories of empire as well as studies of the Americas, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, the tutorial examines how law, culture, economy, and space became vehicles for imperial expansion and colonial control. Methodologically, the tutorial will take a broadly historical approach, attending to how both the concepts and practices of empire were transformed over time. Throughout, we will highlight the forms of resistance that developed in response to empire. We will also consider how resistance was conditioned by colonialism’s regimes of racial and cultural classification and analyze the enduring effects of this conditioning in the present.

Social Studies 98pv. The Critical Theory of the Frankfurt School
Peter Verovšek 
Half course (spring term). Hours to be arranged.
This tutorial examines the major thinkers and themes associated with the Frankfurt School of critical theory. From its origins in the interwar crisis, critical theory has sought to diagnose the pathologies of the present in order to chart paths for social and political emancipation in the future. The readings trace the development of the Frankfurt School its various generations, covering a wide range of theorists associated with this tradition. The goal of the tutorial is not only to gain a deeper understanding of the Frankfurt School, but also to assess the continued relevance of this distinctive approach to the critical theory of society.

Senior Tutorial

Social Studies 99a. Tutorial — Senior Year
Anya Bernstein Bassett 
Full course (indivisible). 
Writing of senior honors essay. Students must complete both terms of this course (parts A and B) within the same academic year in order to receive credit.
Note: Required for concentrators.
Social Studies 99b. Tutorial — Senior Year
Anya Bernstein Bassett 
Full course (indivisible). 
Writing of senior honors essay. Students must complete both terms of this course (parts A and B) within the same academic year in order to receive credit.
Note: Required for concentrators.

Reading and Research

Social Studies 91. Supervised Reading and Research
Anya Bernstein Bassett and members of the Committee 
Half course (fall term; repeated spring term). Hours to be arranged.
Individual work in Social Studies on a topic not covered by regular courses of instruction. Permission of the Director of Studies required.